I'm struggling to type here as it's difficult to put into words but what a peRFect day on Centre Court as Roger won his 7th Wimbledon title beating Murray 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4 to tie Pete Sampras's record and return to Number 1 in the world all at the age of 30. It's hard to explain how great a feat this is, Fed hasn't won a slam in 2 and half years, he's suffered some seriously tough defeats in big matches and then he comes to Wimbledon where it all began for him, beats the defending champion and World Number 1 in the Semi finals and then plays some sublime tennis in the final to win his 17th slam. Truly immense and I guess that's why we call him the GOAT.
Today was easily the most nervous I've ever felt heading into a Federer match because there was so much on the line, I almost felt like this match was destiny and a loss would have been a disaster of epic proportions, not only for Roger but for all his fans too. Thinking about it, it's pretty stupid really because after everything Roger has achieved matches like this should be seen as just a bonus but I guess when Roger has spoiled everyone over the years with his genius tennis on all 4 surfaces it's difficult not to get a little greedy and want him to win one more slam.
My Video of choice prior to the match
I tend to listen to this prior to most big matches (perhaps slightly weird!) but it definitely gets me pumped for what's to come, and actually, it's not a bad one to listen to after a big win, so play it 😉
The Match Itself
The match itself didn't start too great for Roger as he was broken in the first game. I figured Murray would start reasonably well as he has started quite well in big matches before but what I didn't expect was Roger to show signs of nerves and that was clearly apparent when he hit a drive volley miles out on break point in his opening service game.
In game 4 Roger broke back and got the set back on track but worryingly he was making quite a few errors and Murray was returning well. At 4-4 Murray broke again and served out the set comfortably. Looking back I don't think Roger played a bad set but it was deserved by Murray as he created more chances and returned serve well. Fed won only 27% of points behind his 2nd serve, made a few too many errors in key points and that was enough to cost him the set.
Second Set – Key to the Match
The second set was another close affair and could have gone either way. Roger was getting into all of Murray's service games but couldn't find a break. He had to stave off break points himself at 2-2 and again at 4-4 with some clutch play including the serve out wide and forehand 1-2 combo.
I felt like things were in the balance at this point and needed to do some seriously deep breathing to stay composed so god only knows what Roger was thinking. At 6-5 with Murray serving at 30-0 it looked as though a tie break was inevitable (scary times!) but then JesusFed finally showed up on court, at 30-30 Roger hit an immense drop volley to create a break point and then took the set with another touch of genius at the net. This shot was just immense racket head control, hitting it whilst moving forward, cutting it so much to create the side spin was just tennis from another planet and not only that the defense in the rally leading up to it was crazy too – check it out below:
Third Set – The Final Moves Indoors
At 1-1 in the 3rd set and Roger serving at 40-0 the heavens opened and play was suspended. At first I thought it would favour Murray because Roger was just starting to assert his dominance on the match and he was clearly still wondering how he lost the second set. Perhaps it would have favoured him if the roof hadn't gone on but the rain was falling heavily and the decision was made to close it. Ultimately you figured this would favour Fed as his indoor game is top class and the way he played against Djokovic under the roof was crazily good.
When the players returned after a short delay it was Roger who came out in blistering form, his forehand was finally zoning in and his serve was finding the spots. At 3-2 Roger finally broke through after a succession of deuces and served out the set with an ace to take it 6-3. This set was really about Roger, Murray was still in the match but it was now Fed who controlled the rallies and was winning far more points behind his second serve which in turn allowed him to play more freely on the return games. The 20 minute game at 3-2 really knocked the stuffing out of Murray and I think when Roger finally got the break it gave him a lot of confidence.
Fourth Set – History Awaits
The fourth set was when I finally started breathing a little easier, I wasn't saying Roger was a cert as Murray was still in the match but you just felt like Roger was in the ascendancy and Murray was losing his grip on the match and on his first serve percentage.
At 1-1 Roger had to save another break point when Murray went just wide, this was a big hold for Roger at the start of set and it was super important he didn't fall behind. At 2-1 Murray we again saw the genius of Federer, moving forward, he faked a dropshot and hit a sliced forehand deep into the court, leaving Murray looking perplexed. It was sheer genius, an important game, a tricky shot and he plays that? GOAT.
At 2-2 Roger fashioned 2 break points and took it at the first time of asking with the sweetest of cross court backhand passes. At this point you felt like history was in the making, there were a few tetchy moments at 15-30 in the next game, then at 30-30 at 4-3.
I think a lot of fans wanted Roger to break at 5-3 to win the title to spare the nerves of serving it out, he certainly had a few chances but to his credit Murray held and it was up to Roger to serve it out and I knew it wasn't going to be easy. Murray won the first point which made me feel a little uneasy but it was total clutch serving from Roger as he moved to 40-15 in no time. On his first match point he hit a serve out wide that was called out but he didn't challenge and lost the point on his second serve. The commentators announced hawk eye said it was in and you were thinking ffs why didn't you challenge! Little did it matter as Roger found a great second serve at 40-30, hit a forehand onto the Murray forehand who hit it wide on the run. HIS7ORY.
What does this all mean?
It's quite hard to put into words really, but really to me this just means Roger is the undisputed greatest of all time, and it's moments like today that make being a Federer fan so worthwhile.
There's been so many tough defeats in the Grand Slams since Australia in 2010 and to come through a tough tournament like this is just immense. It could have all gone wrong being 2 sets down against Benneteau and then needing treatment for a back injury against Malisse but Roger stood up like the true champion he is and pulled through those matches. To then go on and beat Djokovic, the best player in the world of the last 18 months and then defeat Murray playing his best tennis with a crowd fully behind him is clearly one of his all time greatest achievements.
I feel I have, you know, a great game today. But then again, maybe there were times I had such incredible confidence that you do pull triggers and you pull off shots that maybe today I don’t because I maybe do play a bit more the percentages. I know how hard it is, you know, to pull off those great shots and I know how easy it is to miss, so I’m more aware of these things. But I’m so happy I’m at the age I am right now, because I had such a great run and I know there’s still more possible. You know, to enjoy it right now, it’s very different than when I was 20 or 25. I’m at a much more stable place in my life. Yeah, I wouldn’t want anything to change. So this is very, very special right now.
I'll probably do a follow up post once all the excitement has died down but right now it's just a good day to be Federer fan! Oh and how cute are the twins!?
Never Forget Where it all Began